Alessandro Dazza, Chief Executive Officer, said:
“Imerys made a strong start to 2021 with positive organic growth momentum, improved EBITDA and higher margins, well above pre-pandemic levels. We are encouraged by these results which underscore our commitment to disciplined cost management and commercial excellence. As the recovery gathers pace, albeit at varying levels across sectors and geographies, we will strive to deliver enhanced operating leverage and proﬁtability improvements in 2021. Recent capacity additions in fast-growing markets emphasize the Group’s conﬁdence in its ability to capture future growth opportunities. “
1The deﬁnition of alternative performance measures can be found in the glossary at the end of the press release.2Weighted average number of outstanding shares: 84,684,525 in Q1 2021 compared with 78,959,698 in Q1 2020.
As part of its development strategy, Imerys will invest €60 million in the next two years in the expansion of its carbon black production capacity at its plant in Willebroek, Belgium, in order to support the fast growing market of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. With a unique portfolio of natural and synthetic graphite powders, conductive carbon blacks and tailor-made dispersions, Imerys will continue to develop innovative materials for safer and higher-performing batteries in close cooperation with the leading lithium-ion battery producers in the world.
The Group has sold its 50% holding in Fiberlean Technologies Ltd to Werhahn, a German diversiﬁed, family-owned group. Fiberlean Technologies, based in the United Kingdom, which employs 70 people, was established in 2016 to develop an innovative composite material made from microﬁbrillated cellulose (MFC) and minerals, used in the the manufacture of paper and packaging, as well as in a variety of other engineered applications and industries. Imerys will maintain the rights to the technology thanks to a license agreement, thereby continuing to provide these solutions and minerals to its customer base. The transaction also includes the disposal by Imerys of four MFC production facilities for paper & board clients (two in France, one in India and one in the USA); Imerys will remain the key mineral supplier to these customers.
Imerys is expecting demand for its specialty mineral solutions to continue at a good pace throughout the year driven by the prospect of further economic recovery worldwide. Current EBITDA and current EBITDA margin are targeted to improve in 2021 versus 2020. Recent capacity additions in rapidly expanding markets will enhance the Group’s ability to capture future growth opportunities.
On April 7, 2021, the Plan of Reorganization (“the Plan”) proposed by the North American talc entities (Imerys Talc America, Imerys Talc Vermont and Imerys Talc Canada) has received the majority support of 79.7% of the voting creditors and claimants in the U.S talc related litigation that was necessary to meet the 75% approval threshold required under the relevant statutory provisions applicable to their Plan. This is an important milestone towards the resolution of historic liabilities related to talc in the United-States.
The next step in the Chapter 11 process of the relevant talc entities will be the conﬁrmation hearing on the Plan by the relevant US. District Court of Delaware, which is expected this summer, with potential ﬁnal approval of the Plan by the relevant US Courts and closure of Chapter 11 process by the end of 2021.
Revenue for the ﬁrst quarter of 2021 was €1,058.5 million, up 6.3% year-on-year at constant scope and exchange rates (of which +7.0% for the Performance Minerals segment and +4.7% for the High Temperature Materials & Solutions segment). Group sales volumes were up 5.8%, as the recovery across underlying markets is gaining traction.
In this context, Imerys maintained a positive 0.5% price-mix versus the prior year.
Revenue included a signiﬁcant negative currency effect of €52.1 million (-5.1%), primarily as a result of the depreciation of the U.S. dollar against the euro.
The scope effect was €20.5 million for the ﬁrst quarter, related mostly to the positive contribution of recent bolt-on acquisitions (Haznedar group, Cornerstone, Sunward Refractories and Hysil) and the divestiture of the kaolin operations in Australia.
Current EBITDA reached €182.7 million for the ﬁrst quarter 2021, a 10.9% increase vs. the ﬁrst quarter of 2020. Current EBITDA margin improved by 130 basis points to 17.3% versus the ﬁrst quarter of 2020.
It beneﬁtted from positive volume contribution (€27.7 million), positive price mix (€1.7 million) and ongoing cost control. Variable costs declined by €1.6 million, as inﬂation was offset by savings related to purchasing initiatives and the I-Cube industrial excellence program. Fixed costs and overheads were down €1.6 million vs last year.
The currency effect was negative at €11.4 million.
Current operating income at €116.3 million showed a 40.8% increase against Q1 2020.
Net income from current operations, Group share, totaled €73.3 million, up 48.9% vs. the ﬁrst quarter of 2020. Net ﬁnancial result is negative at -€11.7 million, in line with the ﬁrst quarter of 2020. The income tax expense of €28.2 million corresponds to an effective tax rate of 27.0%, compared with 28.0% in the ﬁrst quarter of 2020. Net income from current operations, Group share, per share, was up 38.8% to €0.87.
Net income, Group share, totaled €72.0 million in the ﬁrst quarter of 2021, after -€1.3 million of other income and expenses, after tax.
Revenue generated by the Performance Minerals segment was up 7.0% like-for-like in the ﬁrst quarter of 2021. On a reported basis, revenue was up 1.3% after a negative currency effect of €34 million (-5.7%) and a positive scope effect of €3 million (+0.5%).
Revenue in the Americas was up 0.8% at constant scope and exchange rates in the ﬁrst quarter of 2021. The overall recovery of paints, rubber, polymers and ceramic products and the performance of ﬁltration and life science markets were hampered by shipping containers shortage and heavy winter storms affecting several plants in February.
Revenue in Europe, Middle-East and Africa increased by 4.8% at constant scope and exchange rates in the ﬁrst quarter of 2021. Plastics, rubber, paints & coatings and ceramics & building products beneﬁted from the recovery of the construction and automotive markets in Europe, while demand for consumer goods and paper was still low in connection with ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
Revenue in Asia-Paciﬁc was up 25.9% at constant scope and exchange rates in the ﬁrst quarter of 2021 thanks to the rapid recovery of end markets, buoyant growth of Graphite & Carbon for mobile energy and the rebound of specialty minerals for plastics, paints & coatings and ceramics, which are back to their 2019 level.
Revenue generated by the High Temperature Materials and Solutions segment was up 4.7% in the ﬁrst quarter of 2021 at constant scope and exchange rates. On a reported basis, revenue increased by 4.6% due to a negative currency effect of €18 million (-3.9%) and positive scope effect of €18 million (+4.0%).
Revenue in High Temperature Solutions, which is serving iron & steel, thermal and foundry markets increased by 7.1% at constant scope and exchange rates in the ﬁrst quarter of 2021. The business beneﬁted from strong underlying markets recovery, particularly in India and China, and to a lesser extent in Europe, where the demand was driven by thermal and foundry markets. The recent acquisition in Turkey, Haznedar, had a good start to the year. Other bolt-on acquisitions are also proceeding according to plan.
Revenue in the Refractory, Abrasives & Construction business area was up 3.6% at constant scope and exchange rates in the ﬁrst quarter of 2021, driven by an increase in volumes in all market segments, thanks to continuing solid growth in building and infrastructure (specialty binders) and further recovery in iron & steel and automotive. The performance was particularly strong in EMEA and in China. In India, the Group completed the commissioning of a new plant in Vizag and started production to serve the growing demand of the domestic refractory market.
The press release is available on the Group’s website www.imerys.com. The Group will hold a live webcast to discuss the ﬁrst quarter 2021 results at 9.30 AM (CET) on April 30, 2021, which can be accessed on the Group’s website www.imerys.com.
These dates are subject to change and may be updated on the Group’s website https://www.Imerys.com/ﬁnance.
The world’s leading supplier of mineral-based specialty solutions for industry with €3.8 billion in revenue and 16,400 employees in 2020. Imerys delivers high value-added, functional solutions to a great number of sectors, from processing industries to consumer goods. The Group draws on its understanding of applications, technological knowledge and expertise in material science to deliver solutions by beneﬁciating its mineral resources, synthetic minerals and formulations. Imerys’ solutions contribute essential properties to customers’ products and their performance, including heat resistance, hardness, conductivity, opacity, durability, purity, lightness, ﬁltration, absorption and water repellency. Imerys is determined to develop responsibly, in particular by fostering the emergence of environmentally-friendly products and processes.
More comprehensive information about Imerys may be obtained from its website (www.imerys.com) in the Regulated Information section, particularly in its Registration Document ﬁled with the French ﬁnancial markets authority (Autorité des marchés ﬁnanciers, AMF) on March 22, 2021 under number D.21-0167 (also available from the AMF website, www.amf-france.org). Imerys draws investors’ attention to chapter 2 “Risk Factors and Internal Control” of its Registration Document.
Disclaimer: This document contains projections and other forward-looking statements. Investors should be aware that such projections and forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties (many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of Imerys) that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied.
Vincent Gouley: +33 (0)1 49 55 64 69ﬁnance@imerys.com
Claire Lauvernier: +33 (0)1 49 55 66 65
Hugues Schmitt (DGM Conseil): +33 (0)1 40 70 11 89